Leprosy, the tragically dreaded, disfiguring, and mutilating disease, one of the oldest afflictions exclusively of mankind, is a contagious wasting constitutional disordercaused by the acid-fast Mycobacterium leprae, first described by Hansen in 1874 (Fig. 1).
Both from the clinical and histopathological points of view, the manifestations of leprosy may be varied. The classification which divides the disease into three distinct types—the lepromatous (malignant or gravis), the tuberculoid (benign or mitis), and the indeterminate (undifferentiated) — is being used at our leprosarium, and we will adhere to it throughout this presentation.
In the lepromatous type the lesions are characterized by the presence of diffuse infiltration of the skin and nerves with vacuolated large mononuclear cells, or "lepra cells" (Figs. 2 and 3). In some of the viscera there may appear small groups of them as miliary lepromata. Bacilli are numerous within these cells, and in tissue spaces known as "globi."
MacCORMICK CEM. The Larynx in Leprosy. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1957;66(2):138–149. doi:10.1001/archotol.1957.03830260024003
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.